Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Today, I will document the contents of my shuffling from 4pm on a Thursday afternoon.
"Singing Softly to Me" by Kings of Convenience
from Quiet is the New Loud
- by their very nature, the Kings are classy
- that brassy trumpet playing lends this song a jazzy touch and i feel like i'm in a classy cocktail lounge
- ultimate music to chill out, lemonade and lazy sun probably necessary
"Gender Bombs" by The Stills
from Logic Will Break Your Heart
- they are from Canada, eh?
- my dad has said they sound to him like a band from the 80's. shoot, i forget which one.
- this album is not sonically as clear and well-produced as Oceans Will Rise
- lately, every band sounds like Coldplay to me
"Do You Love Him" by The Avett Brothers
from Carolina Jubilee
- i love Seth and Scott, and i long to see their live show again sooooon
- this song is what i like to call "primitive." U2's Boy is primitive U2, for example.
- this is so charmingly simple - lyrically, melodically, and all
"My Love Will Be True" by The Princes of Hollywood
from Direction of Motion
- i loved this band my freshman yr at OU. i saw them at coffeehouse shows nearly every month
- i later met one of the "princes," turns out he worked in radio at WOUB and we had one lone conversation on a Sunday afternoon while i DJed
- the Princes consisted of 2, sometimes 3, members. one was the son of Bruce Dalzell, the leader of all open mic nights in Athens. Bruce was in a band in college called Kings of Hollywood (i think. it was kings of something)
- do you see a pattern on my shuffle? looks like it's a day of royalty.
"Why Don't the Buildings Cry?" by Youth Group
from Skeleton Jar
- i found out about this band from The OC. guilty pleasure TV -> better taste in music
- i really love the sound of the lead singer's voice (Toby Martin), and i can't tell he's Australian. he sounds so unbothered and passionate at the same time
That was my first installment of iPod shuffle. Do you feel like you know me now? Can you judge me? I promise, there was no cheating or skipping songs involved. If I happened across a blog post with these 5 songs and bands, I might think "that girl enjoys mediocre indie rock bands." That might be true.
I was throwing up in the ladies room stall
She asked me if I needed anything
I said, "I think I spilled my drink"
And that's how it started
(Or so I'd like to believe)
She took me to her mother's house
Outside of town where the stars hang down
She said she'd never seen someone so lost
I said I'd never felt so found
And then I kissed her on the cheek
And so she kissed me on the mouth
The spring was popping daises up
Around rusted trucks and busted lawn chairs
We moved into a studio in Council Bluffs
To save a couple bucks
Where the mice came out at night
Neighbors were screaming all the time
We'd make love in the afternoons
To Chelsea Girls and Bachelor #2
I'd play for her some songs I wrote
She'd joke and say I'm shooting through the roof
I'd say, "They're all for you, dear
I'll write the album of the year"
And I know she loved me then
I swear to God she did
It was the way she'd bite my lower lip
And push her hips against my hips
And dig her nails so deep into my skin
The first time that I met her
I was convinced I had finally found the one
She was convinced I was under the influence
Of all those drunken romantics
I was reading Fante at the the time
I had Bukowski on my mind
She got a job at Jacob's
Serving cocktails to the local drunks
Against her will, I fit the the bill
I perched down at the end of the bar
She said, "Space is not just a place for stars
I gave you an inch, you want a house with a yard"
And I know she loved me once
But those days are done
She used to call me every day
From a pay phone on her break for lunch
Just to say she can't wait to come home
The last time that I saw her
She was picking through which records were hers
Her clothes were packed in boxes
With some pots and pans and books and a toaster
Just then a mouse scurried across the floor
We started laughing until it didn't hurt
Tim Kasher’s left lung collapsed in 2002. Not that it’s a secret, but it sure is a shock. The 34-year-old vocalist and lead guitarist of Cursive doesn’t go easy on his lungs (or any part of his body, for that matter) in a live show. His cathartic, gravelly style of singing is the voice of dreams and nightmares, a throbbing pulse of energy that explodes in all directions.
His effect on the crowd was chilling last night. In addition to the quality of his voice, he stunned his loyal audience of hard-ass dudes (and a few girlfriends sprinkled here and there) with thoughtful prose. In “From the Hips,” he transformed the mundane details of everyday life into art. “We're all just trying to play our roles/in a play that runs ad nauseum,” Kasher crooned to a background of clean, hi-hat heavy drums, warm basslines, and rich trumpet playing.
Other set highlights included “The Great Decay,” where the four members of Cursive acted as puppeteers of a crowd that looked like it suffered from group exposure to rabies. Every time the Omaha, Nebraska-based band paused or altered the time signature, the audience moved together in perfect synch with the change. An experimental guitar/drum solo in “Art is Hard” ended with a full-fledged anthemic chorus.
Toward the end of the set, Kasher hoo-oohed up to the next octave, displaying his talent for reaching high notes while avoiding the awkwardness that typically goes along with falsetto singing. As reparation, he juxtaposed the high-pitched chirping with cathartic yelling.
Cursive was focused and on-spot, composed and gripping. Kasher, though, was the captain of the ship. He led the band in the right direction, provided his support, and continued to master his art.
Friday, July 24, 2009
- "Mushaboom" by Feist (classic, since day one of my Feist listening career)
- "Sweet Disposition" by The Temper Trap (moments of Justin Vernon-like high-pitched crooning)
- "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates (I've been dancing around my family room to Hall & Oates since I was 5. This song is tops.)
- She & Him cover The Smiths
- Regina, Regina, Regina Spektor is a goddess
- Carla Bruni - is that French I hear?
An album and a few extra bandmates later, Cass McCombs is a changed man. He’s not completely different; his jaded, sullen side still peaks through the darkness in his eyes. Yet last night’s performance was a far cry from the set McCombs’ played when he opened for Jose Gonzalez a year and a half ago. Rather than sneering at the audience, you could almost catch a glimmer of a smile every few songs.
McCombs’ newer material has a sunny side, and a full backing band was better able to express the depth of emotion McCombs’ carries in his vulnerable voice. There were times, though, that I wished the band would evaporate so you could hear his smooth garbling and the sweetly simple song construction.
His music has the retro feel of Brill Building pop, with subtle harmonies and an echoed reverb effect on his vocals. In “You Saved My Life,” McCombs hiccuped into little half-spoken phrases that almost sounded – gasp –Elvis Presley-esque.
The Walkmen upped the ante and the tempo from the minute they stepped onstage. The NYC-based band combines the magnetism of the Strokes with the concentration and intensity of the National. Fan favorite, “The Rat,” is a great example of how the band functions. Frontman Hamilton Leithauser hurtled toward the audience with a pulsing energy that lit up the stage while the rest of the band stunned our ears with a fullness of sound that can only come from immaculate musicianship.
A full horn section (3 trumpets, 1 trombone) accompanied the band’s bass, organ, drums, and guitar mix. Instead of overwhelming, the sound was clean and polished. Not a showy bunch, the Walkmen didn’t clutter the set with stage banter. Leithauser was saving his voice – a raspy-yet-gorgeous wail – for the songs. Excellent decision.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
- Elliott Smith
- Arcade Fire
- The Strokes
- The Cardigans
- Queens of the Stone Age -> Eagles of Death Metal
- Jason Mraz
- Dashboard Confessional
- John Mayer
- The Killers
- Modest Mouse
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Monday, July 20, 2009
It took a couple hours for the Grog Shop to wake up on Friday night. Lakewood’s Saint Ohio opened the show with a brutally dull set, where the overzealous drummer tried to make up for the rest of the band’s mediocrity by dancing around the stage with a tambourine and fastening his glasses to his head like a pair of safety goggles. The Cinnamon Band, up next, was a huge improvement. Still, sweet harmonies and the gentle pop of the Virginia guitar-drum duo still couldn’t shake up the crowd.
All restlessness ended, however, the minute the husband-wife team of the Handsome Furs stepped onstage. Dan Boeckner picked up his guitar, his sleeveless shirt showing off tattoos scattered across his skinny arms, while Alexei Perry kicked her way over to her synthesizer/drum machine table in a tiny romper. The two are straight out of Natural Born Killers, a pair of untamed, horny lovers on a trip around the world.
Continue reading here.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
“The first few times we played in Cleveland, it was Hecklesville, USA,” mewithoutYou’s leading man proclaimed halfway through their set. Six or seven years later, a lot has changed for Aaron Weiss and his bandmates. The Philadelphia-based band played to a sold-out Grog Shop crowd last night. It was the kind of audience where fans barely speak and very rarely turn their heads away from the band.
Prog rockers The Dear Hunter opened the show with dark, moody atmospherics. Casey Crescenzo belted anthemic choruses over a wash of reverb-laden guitar and sparkling keyboards. When the five-piece outfit was at its best, Crescenzo’s songs sounded like Coldplay’s next big hit – melodic, grand, and arena-sized. Yet the band proved that it doesn’t need to hide behind twinkling instruments to widen eyes. All five guys harmonized on “Sun,” a stripped-down tune with guitar noodling and a gentle folk vibe. The Dear Hunter’s songs flowed from one to the next, transitioning well into the night’s main event.
mewithoutYou has a unique way of doing things. The band’s melodies center around Greg Jehanian’s bass guitar and drummer Richard Mazzotta’s distinctive percussion. Both guitar parts are atmospheric, letting rhythm take over as the driving force of the music. The fans know it – “Torches Together” incited wild clapping to Mazzotta’s strange time signatures and heads bobbed in beat with “The Dryness and the Rain.” Weiss sings/yells/speaks/shouts (honestly, his vocals are a clusterfuck of every different style I’ve ever heard) along with the throbbing beat. He lunged across the stage manically, throwing flowers a fan gave him and even breaking out an accordion for a few songs. mewithoutYou is a great departure from the traditional band structure of guitar-driven rock. Cleveland’s gonna have to find someone else to heckle.